• Michelle Dean

Checkmating the Facts with Vision


When I walked through the petite French doors of Pope’s Museum, it wasn’t the odor of three years being closed up and the ill treatment of animals that I sensed. It was the 5 sets of arches I awed at as I stepped through the original doors. Stepping into the main parlor--known as the Cupid Room--it wasn’t the clothes and cardboard partially burned in the fireplace that my eyes delighted in; it was the hand-hewn mantle as well as the original mirror and piano that had seen as least 6 scores of years. I couldn’t breathe easily, yet I could envision. Walking up the stairs and pausing at the landing at the dividing staircase , I was impervious to the inches of dirt hanging off the heat-warped ceiling fans. I was too busy caressing the mahogany banister.


Pulling back the urine-stained carpet, I was well aware that the padding was worse, but my heart leaped when I saw old growth pine plank flooring on both the 1st and 2nd floors. Though the grime on the windows required more than one person washing them again and again, I could see a gardener’s paradise through them. 40-foot Japanese Tulip trees, even taller southern magnolias, sasanqua camellias and rows of cedar trees 50-60 feet tall, not to mention the acres of abandoned pecan grove. A vision was seeded.


Facts are important, but they cannot substitute for the power of a vision. Think through people who have created an impact--both who have pages in the history books and those who have pages in our scrapbooks. For example, statistically it was an impossibility that an untrained, ill-equipped band of men separated by hundreds of miles of terrain should have been able to beat the world’s most powerfully trained and empowered army and navy. Those are the facts, but the vision of living in a land where one could choose governmental authority over themselves was greater than those facts. Hence America, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave exists.


When my great-grandfather left Belgium in 1899, the vision of earning more than starvation wages empowered him to cross the unknown, not speaking English or knowing what he was headed toward. The vision pressed him to go. Generations are free to fill their destiny because he focused more on the vision than on the facts.


According to George Barna, “...Vision is the insight God provides to instruct and direct our paths, a reflection of what God wants to accomplish through us in building his kingdom.” This understanding keeps me and my family focused. Knowing that Popes Museum is not just a piece of property, but is a tool in our hands to build God’s kingdom. We envision Pope’s Museum as a place of civic pride and community prestige. We envision Pope’s Museum as a place where generations of families from around the area gather for milestone moments such as weddings and reunions. We also envision a place where my own family finds rest, provision and peace. This is our vision for what God wants to accomplish through the Dean family at Pope’s Museum.




What about you? Are you out of focus on your vision? Facts are important, but they do not motivate one to reach higher, aim farther or strive longer. Vision does. Are you so focused on the facts of your situation that you are losing the inspiration? It is not too late to regain the vision for yourself. Sweep past the facts and dust off the vision you have allowed to be ignored. Your purpose is not determined by the facts in your life, but by the ideal in your spirit. If life is a game of chess, it is the vision that checkmates the facts, not the other way around.

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